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Issue Analysis

Those the Stimulus Package Didn't Help

In a recent address to the National Governors' Association, President Obama said that, in spite of how some Republicans might feel about the stimulus bill, it definitely helped their states. But if the money the government spent has real value, it will have come out of real labor. But where are the people who will be taxed for it, and how did it help them?

There were governors from both parties who praised the "stimulus" package, but, while they were in different parties, they had one thing in common—their philosophy of large, ineffectual government left many of their states in visible fiscal crisis. And while the stimulus package might have sponsored the fiscal irresponsibility of some of these governors, like Charlie Crist, it did so at the expense of the taxpaying residents in fiscally responsible states as well as fiscally irresponsible ones.  Nor does the president’s claim take into account that the money that went into creating the stimulus package will be money that the government will have to pay back, and that the only way the government can do this is by taxing through legislation or inflation.

But at least the so-called “stimulus” package (which, apparently, the market did not find stimulating enough to waylay exorbitant unemployment) had a price tag on it. The same cannot be said for ObamaCare; in the case of this legislation, the American people might not be given a price, but rather a bill, after the money has already been spent. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is already looking to hire thousands of new employees to help implement the law, and, unlike its supporters claimed, there is little evidence that it will decrease the deficit.

No doubt, the healthcare bill will benefit the new bureaucratic apparatus as well as the healthcare establishment which will increase revenues from this new bureaucracy’s guarantee of new customers.  But the new Congress needs to start addressing the needs of those who aren’t benefitting from this growth of government rather than economy.

These individuals are everywhere: 9.5% of the population is still looking for work; the stimulus may finance moderate unemployment benefits, but only private industry can provide these citizens with sustainable employment. During the past two and a half years, the government has been asking endlessly what it should be doing to alleviate the misery, but perhaps it is time for it to recognize that, if it does not adopt a more limited role, it will be the cause of misery which is yet to come.